Case Study: Maximising independence for all in Edinburgh

People-and-train traffic is hotting up in Edinburgh Waverley, a 24-7 main line railway station sited in Scotland’s capital city centre. So much so that Network Rail called in UK lift wizard Stannah to renew and revamp its people-moving capability and better serve an annual footfall currently rumbling around 20 million.

Some stationary facts

Built in 1866, Waverley is couched discreetly in the basin of a former loch in Edinburgh city centre. One of eighteen stations managed by Network Rail, it is both a terminal and through station – unlike its London counterparts:

  • 2nd largest main line railway station in the United Kingdom in terms of area (1st is London Waterloo)
  • 2nd busiest railway station in Scotland (1st is Glasgow Central)
  • 5th busiest station outside London
  • 2006-2007: refurbishment commenced to include two new through platforms and electrification of Platforms 12-18 ready for electric trains
  • 34,000 m² of strengthened, clear glass roof panels fitted to allow more natural light

The station – ongoing

Concourse and main building exterior together with upgrades to the Princes Street and Market Street entrances providing escalator and lift access.



Another Network Rail success for the Stannah Major Projects team


Client: Network Rail
Main contractors: C. Spencer Ltd and Morgan Sindall Group plc

This big-time band of Stannah specialists is no stranger to Network Rail revamps having already played heavyweight roles in the upgrading of leading stations such as King’s Cross, Paddington, Clapham Junction and Stratford – our Olympic hotspot!

The team fast-tracked an extensive lift replacement and refurbishment program culminating in an illuminated bespoke passenger duplex on the station roofline (street level).

Works included:

  • relocating an existing machine room on platform 10 on a 33-hour Disruptive Possession
  • removing a 33-person hydraulic lift on platform 8/9 and replacing it with a 33-person, Network Rail specification, 2-floor semi-scenic hydraulic lift
  • installing an 8-person MRL lift as a temporary solution while the lift on platform 8/9 was being installed
  • extending the existing 2-floor, 16-person New Street Car Park hydraulic lift to serve three floors to include the new bridge level and the new entrance on Market Street

The machine room is located remotely on Platform 10.



The New Street lift

Stannah extended the existing 2-floor, 16-person New Street Car Park hydraulic lift to serve three floors to include the new bridge level and the new entrance on Market Street:

Capacity: 16 person
Rated load: 1200kg
Travel: 3 stops – 7410mm
Speed: 0.63 m/s
Entrances: single – 1100mm(w) x 2100mm(h)
Headroom: 4000mm
Pit: 1400mm
Car: 1600mm(w) x 1600mm(d) x 2300mm(h)
Entrance size: 1100mm(w) x 2100mm(h)
Landing doors: stainless steel
Ceiling: white powder coated
Surrounds: matt black stainless steel
Sills: bronze manganese at street level

The duplex star

Located on the station roof/street level, directly above the rail track, it takes visitors from street level to the platform mezzanine level below. The Stannah Major Projects team delivered a star performance by responding to a revised schedule that compressed this 10-week installation into 30 working days.

This is a show-stopping feature, particularly after dark when the Italian lighting system (also installed by Stannah) throws it into dramatic and futuristic relief against Edinburgh’s ancestral backdrop:

Capacity: 21 person
Rated load: 1600kg
Travel: 2 stops – 11905mm
Speed: 0.63 m/s
Entrance: 1100mm(w) x 2100mm(h)
Headroom: 3760mm
Pit: 1425mm
Car: 1600mm(w) x 2000mm(d) x 2300mm(h)
Landing doors: linen-pattern stainless steel
Surrounds: matt black stainless steel
Landing sills: bronze

The temporary lift

To keep the station fully operational while the lift on platform 8/9 was being installed, Stannah supplied and fitted an 8-person (630kg), 2-stop MRL (motor room-less) lift as a temporary solution:

The Platform 8/9 lift

The existing 33-person hydraulic lift was removed and replaced with a Network Rail specification, semi-scenic, hydraulic passenger lift:

Capacity: 33 person
Rated load: 2500kg
Travel: 3 stops – 4135mm
Speed: 0.63 m/s
Entrances: single – 1300mm(w) x 2100mm(h)
Headroom: 4750mm
Pit: 1040mm
Car: 1900mm(w) x 2630mm(d) x 2300mm(h)
Interior finish: linen-pattern stainless steel
Car doors/landing entrances: linenpattern stainless steel
Ceiling: white powder coated
Floor: Altro Atlas™ – a tough, non-slip safety flooring, ideal for heavy duty locations.

“Whilst flexing operations around a hectic train timetable, we have successfully increased the people-moving capacity of this main line station by offering a comprehensive relocation, refurbishment, renewal, bridging and bespoke lift solution. Even when faced with a drastically reduced deadline we worked flat out, day and night, to deliver on time and budget. Of course, the floodlit rooftop duplex blazons both Stannah’s capability and Edinburgh Waverley’s emergence as a 21st-century
rail hub.”
Jerry Sutton, Stannah Project Manager

Vital cog in an ongoing refurbishment program

Stannah is very much part of the extensive updating of Edinburgh Waverley having already installed four lifts. These comprise:

  • 3x 2-stop hydraulic passenger lifts serving platform level to Bridge link level.
  • 1x 2-floor hydraulic goods lift serving the platform level to basement used for M&S to the storage area.

Stannah is scheduled to deliver further people-moving solutions down the line.

Star support

Stannah Lift Services Major Projects team works closely with contractors and developers to provide bespoke lift solutions, escalators and moving walkways to retro-fit and new-build developments right across the UK.

Not only do the Stannah passenger lifts ensure that Network Rail meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, they are also being looked after by the Scotland branch of Stannah Lift Services. Part of Stannah’s nationwide network of service branches, it is on-hand 24-7, 365 days a year to keep the lifts in peak condition, ensuring that Network Rail delivers total access to its travel and retail facilities.

Stannah Lift Services maintains, services, repairs, modernises and refurbishes all types of lifts, stairlifts, escalators and moving walkways – not only those from the Stannah product range, but also other lift manufacturers’ equipment. The company also offers a bespoke lifts service, custom-building lifts to meet customers’ specific requirements.